Exclusive: The Gunpowder People … Family History Of Hodgdon Powder Book

By Tank Hoover

2017 marked the 70th year of business for Hodgdon Powder Company. To celebrate this milestone, The Gunpowder People was written to detail the history of how the “First Family of Smokeless Powder” started. It’s the kind of story I love, filled with innovation, hard work and just plain common sense.

Bruce Hodgdon was drafted into the service in 1943 at the age of 33. Being older, he entered the Navy and was assigned as an aerial gunner instructor. Reading about surplus powder from WWI, he learned boatloads of powder were literally dumped out at sea. It got his gears turning…

Early Years

Having convinced the “powers that be” to sell the powder, Bruce set up shop in 1947, and sold 150 pounds of surplus 4895 for $30. He soon realized the more you could tell customers how to use their product, the more you could sell. By releasing load data, customers soon began recognizing the name “Hodgdon” as the handloading authority and promoted handloading in general.

Hodgdon still believes the handloading public is their bread and butter to success. After so many years, you might think Hodgdon would just sit on their haunches reaping the benefits of past work. Heck no — they came out with seven new powders in 2017 to fill any niche needing filling for us handloaders.

Today, Hodgdon makes smokeless powder for shotguns, rifles or handguns, as well as black powder substitutes for muzzleloaders.


The Hodgdon family of gunpowders dominates my handloading room. Sure, I use other powders, but 80 percent of what I use day in and day out is Hodgdon. So if you’re the kind of person who loves handloading and thinks gunpowder …read more

Read more here:: American Hand Gunner Magazine

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